Bristow, David L. Sky Sailors: True Stories of the Balloon Era
28 September 2010, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux
Who knew? From 1783, lots of people tried various ways to fly in balloons. At first, it was considered far too dangerous for people, so animals were sent up, but soon people were trying all sorts of dangerous tricks-- flying at high altitudes, setting off fireworks from their balloons, traveling across water. All of this, of course, was fraught with danger, so the public loved it. Improvements in materials and methods were made over time, but the thing that drew people to attempt balloon flight and that drew people to watch it was the danger, and the thought that people could overcome the bounds of physical reality. One airplane flights began in the early 1900s, the number of balloonists decreased, but for a while, it was the choice of daredevils.
Strengths: This was a well-researched book, written in an engaging style. Period pictures and photographs add a lot to these stories of derring-do. Quite fun.
Weaknesses: The problem with many of these high quality nonfiction books is that few students are interested in picking them up. At 125 pages, it seems too long to them. Debating buying it anyway-- I did get someone to read the Black Potatoes book this year!
Yes, it's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday, as well as Nonfiction Monday, but I spent most of the day making various dips for a New Year's Party, and this is all that is going to get blogged today!
TOMORROW the Cybils' short lists will be announced! So excited. Need to get the second round panelists organized and ready to roll-- the Cybils' winners are announced on Valentine's Day, which is just around the corner.
Happy New Year!